From the Not-Really-News-But-We-Spent-All-This-Money-On-Polling-It-So-Here-It-Is department:
[T]o likely voters in Florida, Ohio and Wisconsin ... the Romney-Ryan proposal to reshape Medicare by giving future beneficiaries fixed amounts of money to buy health coverage is deeply unpopular.
That earthshaking banality is reported by the NY Times, and was uncovered by new Quinnipiac University/New York Times/CBS News polls. We may now consider ourselves informed.
Or are we? Still left to fathom is Mitt Romney's frankly unfathomable decision to put Medicare's angel of death on his ticket. Did Lincoln opt for Wendell Phillips? Or McKinley, J.P. Morgan? Or Kennedy, the archbishop of Baltimore? All such choices might have been boldly Romneyesque; on the other hand the names Lincoln, McKinley and Kennedy would be as obscure today as the name Romney will be tomorrow.
True, voters don't vote for or against presidential nominees through their vice-presidential candidates. But Romney's formal alliance with Paul Ryan has only elevated the latter within the GOP's hottest ideological circles while broadly reinforcing and even compelling every cold, negative image of the former--the people-firing, plutocrat-loving Grinch who wants to steal poor seniors' twilight. Ryan? He's the cute little dog with the single antler.
The most plausible and frequently circulated explanation of Romney's choice is that Ryan would help with the base. And since this was shaping up to be a base election, a base-embraced, ideology-bronzed evangelist would be a profound plus. That thinking, however, defies decades of the empirically profounder. See above. Romney had already peddled and prostrated himself before the GOP's heartless masses; the addition of Ryan couldn't possibly add to Romney's base vote, which would either buy Romney's undignified groveling, or not.
So Romney inherited all the reinforced pillars of Ryan's negatives--chiefly, Medicare's scheduled demolition--and, predictably, none of his positives. And now--subsequent to about a millennium of Medicare's vast popularity--we're informed that in critical swing states the "Romney-Ryan proposal to reshape Medicare ... is deeply unpopular."
Well I'll be darned.